Decorated veteran becomes commander of New Jersey American Legion

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A veteran of the U.S. Navy who has numerous ties to the local community will now lead the state American Legion.

During the American Legion Department of New Jersey 99th annual Department Convention on June 9 in Wildwood, Darryl Reid was chosen to succeed Roger A. Gengaro for the 2017-18 term.

“It feels great to be with these guys. There is great camaraderie. All of us are here for the purpose to serve our vets,” Reid said. “We are under one roof for us to get together and go over the past year.”

Over the ensuing months, Reid will be responsible for leading a project involving the three major veterans homes in the state: the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Menlo Park, the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home and the Veterans Memorial Home in Vineland. He said the Legion will work to raise $120,000 “to bring quality of life to our veterans who are in any of our memorial homes.”

Reid attended Freehold Regional High School before enlisting in the U.S. Navy on Feb. 23, 1965.

He completed his basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois. Afterward, he was assigned to Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, as an admirals driver, according to information provided by the New Jersey Legionnaire.

Reid was assigned to sea duty aboard the USS Okinawa aircraft helicopter carrier stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. While he was on board he obtained the rank of third class commissary man. The ship was then transferred to San Diego where he served two tours off the coast of Vietnam.

Reid earned the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon Bar during his service, according to the Legionnaire.

He was honorably discharged on Feb. 7, 1969.

Following his service in the military, Reid was employed by Buck Engineering Company in Wall Township as a sheet metal mechanic. A few years later he began his career with the U.S. Postal Service, where he worked until retiring as postmaster after 37 years.

He currently owns and operates Prestige Travel Services as a home-based agent.

Reid first joined the American Legion 22 years ago at Leonardo Post 338 and was a member for nine years before transferring to the Donald J. Peacock Memorial Post 178 in Farmingdale. While at Post 178, he served as post commander, vice commander, adjutant, finance officer, membership chairman, Boys State chairman, Boy Scouts chairman and publicity chairman. He was most recently the currently post adjutant.

Reid also became the Monmouth County commander and completed his third year on the county Legion’s Department Executive Committee. He also served as membership chairman, children and youth chairman and county oratorical chairman for the county.

In addition, at the state level, Reid served as vice commander for the Department of New Jersey, Monmouth County Department Executive Committee vice chairman of Education and Scholarship, and finance officer.

“We are veterans still serving veterans,” Reid said of the American Legion.

Reid is a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 836 in Brick. He is a fourth degree Knight and past faithful navigator of the Rt. Rev. John F. Baldwin Assembly. He is also a member of the Sons of the American Legion Unit 346 in Neptune and a life member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 9691 in Howell.

He is also a member of the Ancient Order of the Hiberians in Belmar and serves as committee chair for the Boy Scouts Cub Scout Pack 13 in Farmingdale.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@newspapermediagroup.com.